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Canisius Captures Sweep of Niagara on Senior Day

Courtesy: Canisius College Athletics
Release: 01/21/2012
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The Canisius College men's and women's swimming and diving teams closed out their regular season by sweeping rival and conference opponent Niagara at the Koessler Athletic Center Pool on Saturday afternoon. The Canisius men found revenge of a one-point loss to the Purple Eagles last season with a 159-84 victory. The Golden Griffin women managed to overturn the outcome of years' pasts by defeating Niagara, 151-92.

Both Canisius squads provided a solid team effort en route to the sweep of its crosstown rival. A total of nine different Golden Griffins captured first-place finishes in the pair of victories.

The Canisius women gave the senior trio of Amina Benman, Kristen Toellner, and Kara Powalski a perfect gift, as the trio swam in their final home meet at the Koessler Athletic Center. Entering the meet, the trio had not experienced a win over rival Niagara either on the road or at home. The win also gave head coach Scott Vanderzell his first dual-win over Niagara his time with the Golden Griffins.

The 400 medley relay team of freshman Megan Sullivan, and sophomores Anna Schena, Maggie DeMarco, and Kelli Graber set the tone for the meet, taking first with a time of 4:08.14. In the next event, Schena (10:58.31) and sophomore Leah Villari (11:07.84) would capture one-two finishes in the 1000 freestyle.

Freshman Marissa Oakey's dominance in the freestyle races continues, as she set a pair of Koessler Athletic Center Pool records in first-place performances in the 200 and 500. The freshman set the 200 freestyle record (1:55.83), while breaking her own week-old record in the 500 freestyle (5:10.73).

In the 50 freestyle, Graber (25.45), DeMarco (26.06), and Erika Tozser (26.37) took the top three spots, securing 16 out of the 19 points available.

Schena captured her second top-individual finish in the 200 butterfly (2:14.29).

Besides being a part of the 400 medley relay team, Sullivan took home her first top-finish as a Golden Griffin in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:37.11.

The 400 freestyle relay of Powalski, junior Annelise Gunn-Taylor, Villari, and Oakey closed at the Griffs' regular season with a first-place finish, posting a time of 3:42.05.

On the men's side, the Golden Griffins opened with a 15-2 lead after the 400 medley relay race, as the team of senior Steve Pochatko, and juniors Tyler Carver, Matt Moessinger, and Mike Disco took the opening men's event with a time of 3:33.04, setting the Koessler Athletic Center Pool record. In the first leg of the relay, Pochatko broke his 100 backstroke pool record in 52.16.

Canisius also took second in the event with the team of sophomore Andrew Edbauer, and freshmen Tyler Evans, Sean Stegemoller, and Zack Haney finished second in 3:44.07.

In the 1000 freestyle, the Golden Griffins continued their dominance with junior Shawn Parkhurst (9:56.83) and freshman Sam Hansen (10:02.91), placing first and second, respectively.

Freshman Sean Wurster kept the team rolling, as he placed first in the 200 freestyle (1:50.10).

The Golden Griffin men completed their first sweep of the day in the 50 freestyle, as Pochatko (21.92), freshman Nick Sereday (22.27), and senior Adam Calandra (22.50) took top honors.

Canisius grabbed the top spot in the next two events, as Parkhurst secured a time of 1:56.45 in the 200 butterfly followed by Sereday's personal-best in the 100 freestyle (48.26).

Canisius' second sweep of an event came in the 200 breaststroke, as Carver (2:13.98), Hansen (2:14.83), and Edbauer (2:19.17) occupied the top spots.

Like the Canisius women, the men closed out their regular season by capturing first in the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Disco, Calandra, Parkhurst, and Sereday recorded a time of 3:15.14 to finish first.

As part of the Senior Day celebration prior to the dual, the Golden Griffins honored the careers of five seniors, including Toellner, Benman, Powalski, Pochatko, and Calandra.

Canisius will take the next few weeks to continue preparing for the MAAC Swimming and Diving Championship, which will be held at the Erie Community College Burt Flickinger Center on Feb. 16-18 in Buffalo, N.Y.

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